Centuries: 17th century - 18th century - 19th century
Decades: 1730s 1740s 1750s 1760s 1770s - 1780s - 1790s 1800s 1810s 1820s 1830s
Years: 1780 1781 1782 1783 1784 - 1785 - 1786 1787 1788 1789 1790
- January 1st The first issue of the Daily Universal Register, later known as The Times, is published in London.
- January 7 - Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard and Americann John Jeffries travel from Dover, England to Calais, France in a gas balloon, becoming the first to cross the English Channel by air.
- January 27 The University of Georgia Founded
- July 6 - The dollar is unanimously chosen as the money unit for the United States. This is the first time a nation has adopted a decimal coinage system.
- University of New Brunswick founded in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
- January 4 - Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg], founder of the line known as Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.
- January 4 - Jakob Grimm, German philologist, one half of the Brothers Grimm (+ 1863)
- March 27 - Louis XVII of France, later declared one of the Monarchs of France though he actually never ruled
- April 4 - Bettina von Arnim, lyricist (+ 1859)
- April 26 - John James Audubon, naturalist, illustrator (+ 1851)
- May 18 - John Wilson, Scottish writer (+ 1854)
- August 15 - Thomas de Quincey - English essayist
- August 23 - Oliver Perry, American naval officer.
- January 3 - Baldassare Galuppi, composer
- China - Qianlong Emperor of China, Qing Dynasty (reigned from October 18, 1735 to February 9, 1796)
- Prussia - Frederick II King of Prussia (reigned from 1740 to 1786)